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Building auto repair shop management discipline

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 09:00
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Lirel found that by helping owners and managers implement the three secrets of management from Blanchard and Johnson’s The One Minute Manager, they could move the needle on increasing their management skills.

The first secret is one-minute goal setting. One-minute goal setting is the foundation of The One Minute Manager and is the starting point to having a highly successful team member. Goals should be established with new and existing team members on a regular basis; new members upon hire; and existing members when current goals are reached or when job roles change. When setting goals, look at using the S.M.A.R.T. goals method. SMART stands for:

Specific — Make sure that the goal is specific to the team member’s role and keep it simple. Goals for a new team member could be as simple as being to work on time for a certain number of days to build the correct behavior or completing outlined training modules with a passing grade in a specific time period. Senior team member goals would be more directed to meeting certain productivity numbers or advancing specific skill set to the next level.

Measurable — Goals need to be measurable in order to be tracked. You should work with the team member to establish their goals and how you will measure them. Remember to keep it simple so that the team member can tell where they are at any given time. A measurable goal for an office manager could be set for processing accounts payable or collecting receivables. Any goals set for a new member would be more lenient than with a senior staff member, as we want them to gets some wins under their belt early to build good behaviors.

Attainable — Goals need to be attainable by the team member. To set a goal with a team member to improve their efficiencies by 50 percent in 30 days would be counterproductive and have a negative outcome. A better solution would be to set a goal on efficiencies improvement of 5 percent every 60 days over a 12-month period.

Relevant — Goals need to be relevant to the team member’s task list and skill set. Setting an aggressive closing ratio goal for a new salesperson who is just learning the sales process would also be counterproductive. A better goal would be to establish current closing ratio then work on 1 percent to 5 percent improvements over a 90-day time period.

Timely — As you can see, I have attached a timeframe measurement to all of the sample goals. Having a timeframe forces the team member to make progress. I like 30-60-90-day goals. Starting with the end in mind, I break the goal into three chunks and then work with the team member to achieve that goal. This allows for wins during the process and opportunities to praise more often, which continues to build positive behaviors.

Once the goals are set, the manager needs to make it clear that you will be watching the team member to make sure that they are achieving their goals, which leads us into the next secret.

Secret two of The One Minute Manager is one-minute praising. The goal is to catch people doing something right and then tell them what they did right and how you feel about that. This is probably one of the hardest secrets to master, as most of us have been taught that the only time you hear from your boss is when you make a mistake. You assume that if you hear nothing, you were doing OK. Blanchard and Johnson wanted to change that behavior and focus on the positive. With a new employee, I would want to praise for simple tasks like showing up on time or cleaning their work area without being told. When I praise them for simple tasks, they see that I truly am watching and that I care about their success. With a senior team member, I would take a different path. I would praise for achieving goals ahead of schedule or for helping a fellow team member with a task without being asked. This shows that team member that even if they have been with me for a long time, I am still watching, and I still care about their success.

The third secret is one-minute reprimands. I feel that if you become very good at the first two secrets, then the reprimand should rarely be needed. But if it is needed, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. First of all, you want to make sure that what you are reprimanding for actually took place. Second, keep the reprimand short and to the point. Tell the team member exactly what they did wrong and how it makes you feel. Always attack the problem or the behavior and not the individual. When reprimanding someone, always do it in private and never when you are angry. Always follow a reprimand with praise by telling the team member that you are not disappointed in them, just their behavior.

I have given you just a taste of this great business book. Think about how you could use The One Minute Manager methods in your personal life with your children or with a sports team you may coach. I have read and reread this book many times and have always picked up something that I can do better when I am practicing the three secrets. If you haven’t read it, dig up a copy and do so. If you have read it, reread it and then set a one-minute goal for yourself to be a great one minute manager.

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